Local Compassion: Water Street Ministries

photo587A portion of our Local Birthday Gift for Jesus funds will go to support Water Street Ministries in Lancaster. Most people are familiar with Water Street’s long history of rescue and renewal efforts, particularly focused on homeless people. Water Street has a long list of other ministries as well, including educating children, equipping urban youth, and providing healthcare for those without access. They seek to make both a spiritual and practical difference in more than 600 lives every single day!

Many people from Grace Church have visited Water Street Ministries and volunteered there. But there is one Grace Church member who spends a significant amount of time at Water Street. David Rice volunteers there on a monthly basis as an Evening Chapel Ministry Leader where he provides, leads, and interacts with those attending the evening chapel program which ministers to the needy or homeless individuals in transition.

The following was written by David Rice:

In my younger years I experienced firsthand being overlooked, forgotten and left behind. These experiences left an impressionable impact on me. I was often treated as a less of a person because I came from a poor family with no community influence. My new life began thirty-four years ago when I gave my heart to our Lord Jesus surrendering my life to God to be used for His will. I ask Him to allow me to be involved in making a difference in people lives and then my Lord began an unexpected work in my life. He gave me the spiritual gift of “encouragement” enhanced by my gift of gabbing, complementing God’s abundant blessing over the years to be personally involved with youth and adults of all ages and cultural backgrounds. 

I will not bypass my parents who loved the Lord and would regularly give food and send dollars to Water Street Rescue Mission. Perhaps God’s heartbeat of caring for the unloved and forgotten people in my life was instilled in some subtle way by my parents.

I believe wholeheartedly, the Holy Spirit working in my life bent my mind and my heart to being aware of the needs of the less fortunate. God revealed to me many years ago that His heart beats for those in captivity of poverty, individuals dealing with wrong choices and sin as well as injustice of many forms.

God, thru the work of His Holy Spirit, allowed me to minister in many areas in the life of His Church.  As a youth leader I was on the “look out” for the teenager alone and away from the crowd with their head down. I look for people that look different than me. I try to look at people through God’s eyes not only in areas of personal ministry but my daily life.

I see He made people of different skin colors, and I am a just a white guy, living in a predominantly white community and worshipping in a Church with mostly white folks.

When I see someone that looks different than what I’m used to seeing around here I go say hello, try to become acquainted with them and thank them for worshipping with us. I try with all the personality that God gave me to make them glad they are here in Lititz Grace Church.

That same sensitive heartbeat God developed about 15 years ago in my life to go a deeper step, when He placed upon my heart a desire to get involved in individuals forgotten, and wounded, “those who are poor in the eye’s of the world”, people who God loves and cares for deeply. For 2 years I prayed that God would open the door to be able to minister to the homeless and overlooked.  One day God answered that prayer thru a humble servant of His when Robert Sprecher approached me and said these very words, “David I really don’t know why, other than I believe God has led me to ask you this, would you have any interest in getting involved with helping me in ministry to the homeless folks at Water Street Rescue Mission?” My overjoyed expression could of filled Cabela’s, but before I responded, Bob quickly added his heartfelt need to (I believe sell me onto it) that I’m getting older and my wife’s health is failing and I find I need to give more of my time to my wife’s needs.

He continued to say, “you see David my wife and I have been doing the evening chapel ministry for 25 years.  We love these folks here at the mission and we need to entrust it to someone who will continue it, and God led me to ask you. Do you think you may be interested?”  With joy unspeakable I answered, yes.  After a year of Bob’s mentorship, he said, “David you need to take it over now, I can no longer continue. Please promise me that you will make every effort to carry it on, my wife and I have been so blessed to be able to serve the poor here at Water Street.”

My wife, Del-Rae, is also a very supportive and passionate in serving with me at the Mission monthly. She is involved and in many ways helps me in our chapel program showing the love of God to those we minister to.     

Why am I involved at Water Street, because this is where God has me being His hands, encouraging the downtrodden, troubled people going thru very difficult times, and reflecting His love filled, caring heart beat. I do it because “I Care”. God has placed this desire in my heart to live out my Christian faith right here in my own back yard, 20 minutes from my house at Water Street Rescue Mission.

If you’d like to volunteer with David at Water Street, the next opportunity is: December 19,  please  click here to email David for more information.  Stay tuned to the Engage blog for more information!

Money will be collected for the “Birthday Gift for Jesus” throughout the month of December.  Please make sure cash gifts or checks to “Grace Church” are marked for this project, or if you prefer click here to give online.

If you’d like to learn more about Water Street Ministries, check out their website: http://wsm.org/